Friday, 26 October 2012

MacGyver a Halloween Costume: 7 Easy to Assemble Costumes Using Common Closet Items

Location: Upper East Side, New York, NY, USA

It’s the Friday before Halloween and you STILL haven’t decided on a costume for that awesome party this Saturday. You’ve considered your options: 1. Go as yourself. 2. Go as your identical twin. 3. Transport yourself to an era when irony is in.

If only you had followed through with the incredible '90s cartoon costume you thought up a month ago! It’s too late now—not only do you lack the crafting skills necessary to build a Hey Arnold football head, you also don’t want to spend $50+ on a costume that's only wearable for one night. Ah, the good old days when parents bought the costumes—hey, weren’t you Arnold that year, too?

Don’t worry! We’ve compiled this list of 5 easy to assemble Halloween costumes for the busy, practical New Yorker. Though they require varying levels of commitment, they all cost under $20.

1. MacGyver

That’s right—we had to. MacGyver is a surefire costume because it’s cheap AND hysterical. Wear a blue shirt and a tan leather jacket with jeans or khakis. You may have to purchase a dirty blonde wig and do some hair styling to make sure you get the classic '80s ‘do.

As for props, carry around some paper clips and offer to save people from impending doom with scotch tape and pens! Because MacGyver is just an “ordinary” due, this costume should be pretty cheap—and it’s guaranteed to garner a few laugh!

2. Binder of Women

Impress your friends with your political knowledge by being a binder full of women this Halloween! Take advantage of the internet meme created in the second presidential debate by throwing together a cheap and easy costume that’s ALSO very clever.

Simply buy or repurpose an old binder by cutting it in half. Poke holes in the top of each half and thread with string to create straps—kind of like a sandwich board! Label the front of the binder with the phrase “Binder of Women.”

WARNING: This costume may cause your political friend to try and engage you in debate. Avoid by laughing into your drink.

3.  Dead Business Person

A surefire way to be creepy and thrifty on Halloween is by throwing the word “dead” in front of almost any noun. A dead business person is especially easy because you probably have everything you need in  your closet.

Dress up in your least favorite work outfit (in case of stains). Use some red lipstick to draw blood coming out of your nose, ears, or cut on your neck. Use black eyeliner to create deep bags under your eyes and to create gashes by outline spots of blood with the eye liner. For added effect, use some baby powder to give your face the bloodless hue of the dead!

4. Greek God/Goddess
For a classical look, dress up as a Greek deity! Those Greeks knew how to party, and you’re sure to revive any gruesome Halloween party with your fresh and fun duds. If you’ve got one, throw on a white dress. If you don’t, buy cheap white sheets from a local home goods store to create a toga. Although toga tying is difficult, we trust you’ll figure it out (and here’s a guide that can help).

After you’ve got your white toga/dress on, dress up your eyes in black or gold eye liner for that otherworldly look. Go to the dollar store and pick up some fake vines or greenery to shape into a crown. Also, cut out a lightning bolt shape from a cardboard box and color in with gold paint or crayon!

5. A Crayon

Get back to your kindergarten roots by being a crayon this Halloween! It’s clever and easy, making it the perfect costume option. To decide which color you’ll be, scan your wardrobe to see if you have any bottoms and tops that are the same color. If you’re like me, that means you’ll be a red/orange crayon for Halloween.

Next run to an arts and crafts store and buy six sheets of paper near the color of your outfit. If you can’t find matching paper color, use white computer paper and color in the paper with the real version of the crayon you’re mimicking. Using a black crayon or marker, create your crayon label. Staple all of the paper together to create a crayon wrapper—you may have to ask a friend to put the final staples in. It’s so easy to make even a five year old could do it!


If you feel like splurging, go out and buy a look off the runway! Your costume can be "Vera Wang Model," and you get to wear the outfit for the rest of the season!

And there you have it! Five easy and cheap (and one not so cheap) ideas to make sure you don’t show up as “Facebook” for the third year in a row. Have a happy Halloween!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Remove Blood Stains this Halloween: a Guide for Ghoulish New Yorkers

Location: 220 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075, USA

October 31st is rapidly approaching, and if you were putting off wearing your Jason costume for fear of ruining a perfectly good shirt, fear no more (fear is for camp counselors!). This DashLocker guide will help you make sure your whites are sparkling even after a night of ghoulish Upper East Side Halloween fun. This guide will teach you how to soak, scrub, and siphon blood out of your clothes-- fake blood, that is!

Fake blood can be especially difficult to remove as it's made with oil AND ink-- the two stain perpetrators that are most difficult to remove! Never the less, with a little patience and the right training you may be able to wear your slasher costume after Halloween is over.

Step 1:  First, make sure the costume is completely dry before sprinkling the stain with Talc, which is especially effective on oil-based stains. This will help prep the clothes before the next steps.

Step 2: Soak the gory remains of your terrifying get up in scalding water for at least 12 hours. If the stain doesn't come out, continue on.

Step 3: Use a favorite store bought cleaner like Shout-- without falling into flashbacks of the shouting masses running from your terrifying getup. Spray the stain thoroughly before allowing the garment to soak for at least 8 hours. Use a scrub brush and apply pressure while scrubbing the stain. Wipe off the detergent with a wet rag before examining the results of your efforts.

Step 4: Soak the vestiges of your costume in white vinegar. Make sure the stain is thoroughly covered in the vinegar before allowing it to sit for 12 hours. When you're ready, rinse the garment in warm water, refreshing the tub each time the water turns pink. If this seems to be working well, try soaking the garment for another 12 hours and rinsing again.

Step 5: If the unholy terror that was your costume STILL is resisting your stain removal methods, mix up some cornstarch and milk into a thick paste. Rub the paste onto the stain with a wet cloth until the stain starts disappearing faster than your Halloween candy. Repeat as needed.

Of course, if all else fails you can always call your friendly neighborhood DashLocker-- we'd be happy to dry clean your Halloween stains away!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Introducing New Dry Cleaning Customer Care Stations!

Location: 220 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075, USA

Huzzah! We’ve added a new feature at our retail locations on the Upper East Side

At DashLocker, we’re all about figuring out ways to make the drop off process easier and more intuitive. Although many people love having a personalized, online account to leave notes and track orders, other customers prefer to set up their online accounts and then never use them again!

Our new Customer Care Stations are filled with 
goodies that will make it easier for customers to 
communicate their dry cleaning needs without 
logging into their DashLocker accounts. 
In order to cater to all of our customers, we decided to install Customer Care Stations at each of our retail locations. Our Customer Care Stations make it easy to communicate with the DashLocker mark-in team without using an online account. 

The Customer Care Station is stocked with “Stain Stickers” for customers to stick on stained clothing. It also includes safety pins for pinning non-stick tags (like “Special Care Tags”) to damaged clothing. It even has the special non-bleed pens that dry cleaners use behind the scenes. All the tags are wash and fabric friendly, plus they’re bright and easy for our mark-in attendants to see when they’re examining clothing.  

The Customer Care Station has an awesome counter so you can spread out your clothing and examine items for stains and tears. 

Plus, the Customer Care Station makes it easier for first time users to get started by including easy to attach tags with space to write a name, phone number, and email.

Our DashLocker mission is to make dry cleaning more convenient, more transparent, and more user friendly, and our Customer Care Stations will do just that!

Have a question or observation about the Customer Care Stations or ideas about how we could make the dry cleaning process even better? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

How DashLocker’s Laundry Tracking Software Works

Location: 278 Broadway, New York, NY 10007, USA

Ever wonder how DashLocker knows whose laundry is whose once it’s loaded into a locker? It’s all because of the amazing San Francisco developed software, DropLocker.

Part of the DashLocker mission is to bring dry cleaning into the 21st century, and that’s why the DropLocker software is so integral to our system. It lets us track clothes from the minute they enter our system until the moment of pick up.

Here’s how it works: A customer (let’s call him Jim), loads his clothes into a locker. Since he’s used Dashlocker before, he has a personalized garment bag with a scannable barcode tied to his DashLocker account. He then locks his locker and leaves.

Our drivers swing by and use their smart phones to scan the customized DropLocker tag on each locked locker and the tag on the bag inside. This process connects each locker with the bag inside it. That way, if Jim calls and says he left his bag in locker 13, we’ll be able to open up a history of locker 13 and check the times, dates, and owners of each bag placed inside. Now that’s a lot of information!

DashLocker is fiercly committed to transparency, and the DropLocker software helps us communicate with customers. When a bag is scanned,an email is automatically sent to the customer that their laundry has beenpicked up. This way everyone stays in the loop!

Next we take the bags to our processing facility, where our mark-in attendants scan each bag and create orders online for dry cleaning,wash & fold, and shoe shine.

Wash & fold orders are put aside to bring to our vendor. Dry cleaning items have one more step. Our mark-in attendants empty each bag and examine all of the items. If the item has been washed with us before, they scan the unique tag on the item. If not, they attach a new tag to the item in anunobtrusive place that will not harm the fabric. At this point, we now have a list and picture in our system of every item sent to us for dry cleaning.

After examining each item for tears, stains, and damage, the attendants bring all of the clothes to our vendors. Our dry cleaning vendor washes the clothes and scans each item before placing it into a bag. If a bag went to our vendor containing 12 items and only 11 items are scanned and placed into the bag , the system will inform us. We will also be able to see a picture of the missing item. This system has resulted in exactly ZERO misplaced items. Now that’s amazing!

Next, our drivers pick up our bags from the vendors and scan each bag back into our processing system. They then bring the bags to the drop off location. When they place a bag into a locker, they scan the DropLocker tag of the locker and then the bag, which sends a text and email alert to the customer that their bag is ready for pick up!

We love love love our software—and we know you do, too! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Laundry Problems Began...

Location: New York, NY, USA

My first exposure to New York's less than accommodating dry cleaning industry was as a summer analyst in 2007 with Lehman Brothers. I never seemed to leave the office, and when I did there were few errands to take care of because just about everyone was closed.

With a schedule that routinely kept me at the office through midnight, I found dry cleaning was a constant problem. There wasn't a cleaner in my neighborhood open past 7:00pm.

I took to doing dry cleaning on Saturdays during the limited weekend dry cleaning hours. That meant dropping off on Saturday and waiting a whole week to pick up those clothes and drop off more the next Saturday. Since I didn't have much of a life, this really wasn't an issue until travel kept me busy on Saturday - throwing the whole schedule off. Eventually a job in banking turned into a job at a hedge fund in Connecticut - my hours improved, but handling dry cleaning didn't get any easier.

One day I had enough. I was sick of arranging my schedule around my dry cleaner—this is New York City, after all! Isn’t everything open 24 hours? I knew that if I was suffering from inconvenient cleaners, other people must be, too. So I dedicated myself to finding a solution.

I learned the ins and outs of laundry, and the kinks of the processing cycle most clothes go through. I learned that having a 24/7 dry cleaning operation was unprofitable because of the cost of hiring employees to man storefronts, and I also learned that most cleaners are happy with the status-quo of 7-7.

And I decided to disrupt the system. Enter Lockergistics, the locker-based dry cleaning concept that allows for 24/7 accessibility. People who work late hours can drop off and pick up at any time—after 9pm, after 10pm, after 2am! Finally, a dry cleaning company for the 21st century! 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

What’s Dry about Dry Cleaning?

Location: New York, NY, USA

Ever wonder how dry cleaning got its name? An old myth circulates the dry cleaning beat, with long-time cleaners swearing the process was invented in France in the 1800s. According to legend, an elderly dye-worker spilled some kerosene on his dirty tablecloth.

The stains magically disappeared, and the dye-worker knew he was onto something big. He developed the first petroleum based dry cleaning process and birthed an industry.

But kerosene is still a liquid, right? Yes! Despite the name, the dry cleaning process does use a liquid solvent—it just doesn’t use water, thus the term “dry.”

However, petroleum is incredibly hazardous (think about all the potential for fire and spontaneous combustion!) and so in the 1930s “perc” (perchloroethylene) was developed.

But perc isn’t very safe either… in fact it was the first chemical to be classified as a carcinogen! That’s pretty scary.

Thankfully new eco-friendly cleaning methods have been developed, like the GreenEarth Cleaning Process! Dry cleaners committed to sustainability (like DashLocker!) can use green dry cleaning methods that are healthier for workers, customers, and the environment.

The liquid solvent in GreenEarth Cleaning is silicone—basically, liquid sand! Now that’s pretty all natural (although not exactly dry!). 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Decoding Fabric Care Labels

Your clothes are talking to you. Okay, not literally, but they still have a lot to say—if you know where to look. 

Every item of clothing has a tag with weird, hieroglyphics from ancient Egyptian times. If you have the right knowledge, you can interpret this code and figure out what your clothes are really saying.

Don’t worry about heading back to college—we’ll give you a crash course on reading fabric care symbols because we love laundry (and we care about your clothes!)

Fabric care labels explain how to properly clean your clothing. Reading and listening to these labels is REALLY important because it helps your clothes last longer and prevents the ruining of fabric.

This colorful guide lets you know what each label means and can help you decide if that wool sweater needs to be line dried or if your fancy jeans need dry cleaning.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Meet Ariele, DashLocker’s New VP of Business Development

DashLocker first opened its doors on the Upper East Side in June, and since then we’ve been growing faster than your laundry pile. Three apartment locations rolled out last week and three more storefronts are opening this October.

All this growth made it clear we needed someone on board to facilitate locker placements. So without further ado, allow me to introduce Ariele Gonzalez, our new Vice President of Business Development!

Before Ariele, building management companies, brokerages, and landlords had been contacting us with proposals for locker placements in apartment buildings. Meanwhile, a spreadsheet of apartment leads was growing, submitted by enthusiastic customers AND wanna-be customers—those unlucky folks living too far from our retail store but in need of a 24/7 accessible dry cleaning location.

We wanted nothing more than to be in their basements, but our team was swamped with planning openings, managing accounts, and processing orders. We knew we needed a dedicated member to collect and connect with apartment leads.

Enter Ariele, a rock star business developer with five years of experience managing relationships with professionals in the publishing industry.

Ariele is our dedicated contact for apartment owners and building managers, and anyone else interested in finding a home for our lockers! Contacts can now expect great personal interaction with one dedicated team member, allowing new placements to move faster and facilitating strong partnerships. Plus now our operations team can focus on processing laundry!

Thanks to our new VP, we've been able to make the chores of dry cleaning, wash & fold, and shoe shine that much easier for three apartment buildings in New York. Our lockers moved into their basements last week and now these tenants can do their dry cleaning in slippers!

If you’re interested in adding this amenity to your building, shoot Ariele an email or call her at 646.912.2029! I bet she’d be happy to hear from you.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How To Launder Quilted Fabric: Fall 2012 Fashion Care Guide

From peacoats to patterns, the fall 2012 New York Fashion Week wowed attendees with statement items guaranteed to dress up any wardrobe. The fuzzy duds AND jeweled collars decking the runway definitely foretold a cozy/glam start to colder months. 

Even though our inner fashion divas were melting, we couldn't stop thinking about laundry. How could these flimsy fabrics and delicate dresses survive multiple washings??

Everyone knows that fashion is cyclical, so we decided to write a series of blog posts with tips for caring for fall trends. Who knows, maybe that wine trench will come back in 2020.

Quilted Fabric

Quilted fabric was all over the runway this season, which means that dry cleaners are about to see more than the average run of Burberry coats come fall.

It can be tempting to wash quilted jackets at home, but regular washing machines might mess up the stuffing. Improperly washed quilted items can leave the stuffing clumped in the bottom of each pocket, making your jacket look lumpy and uncared for.

Instead, opt for hand washing the item in a laundry vat or tub. Hand washing is easier on fabric and will prevent bunching of cotton batting (the filling inside most quilted items).

Once the item is completely clean, don’t put it in the dryer. Instead, hang the item until it is thoroughly dry. It is important to allow the item to dry fully before putting it away in order to prevent mildew.

Make sure to read the care label on your quilted fabric—it is often recommended that these items are dry clean only. Dry cleaners use a process that does not shrink wool, so if your quilted item is wool dry cleaning might be your best solution. 

Have you ever tried hand washing a quilted item? Let us know how it went in the comments-- and stay tuned for our next fall trend care tip.